February 2, 2013: 8PM
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
Chicago Blackhawks (6-0-2) @ L.A. Kings (1-3-1)
The Calgary Flames did more than enough to win the game. However, it was the performance of a lifetime by one Chicago player that made sure that wasn’t the case.
The Blackhawks were coming in to Calgary after opening up their 6-game road trip with back-to-back shootout losses, their first two of the season. Calgary was off to a far worse start however, losing 4 of their first five, looking to turn it around at home against the best in the league.
The first and second periods could put someone to sleep, with no scoring, and little chances either way. However, that all changed in the third.
The Flames took control of the play in the final frame, out-shooting the Blackhawks 24-6 in that stretch.
Despite that, the Blackhawks were first to strike when Patrick Kane fired in a rebound with just over four minutes gone in the frame.
The Flames turned on the jets after the Chicago goal, and had the ‘Hawks hanging on for dear life. Michael Cammalerri hit a post, as well as Curtis Glencross. Calgary would not be denied a goal however, and Dennis Wideman evened the score on the power-play.
The ‘Hawks did little to change their sluggish play after the Flames goal, and it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Calgary added another one. They did just that with 35 seconds left, when Jay Bouwmeester put Calgary ahead.
In a scramble, the Blackhawks got the extra attacker out, and generated more offense in those 30 seconds than they did in the whole period.
Then Marian Hossa happened.
The Blackhawks scraped out alive, and with no action in overtime, were off to their third consecutive shootout.
Alex Tanguay and Jiri Hudler couldn’t get it done for the Flames, and after a goal by shootout specialist Patrick Kane, Roman Cervenka was denied to earn the Blackhawks the win.
The story of the game wasn’t Calgary’s domination in the third, or Hossa’s late tying goal, but Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery turning in a career game.
Emery made 46 saves, and faced 48 shots (both career highs). Without #30 in net, even starting goalie Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks would most likely lost the game. Emery turned away everything the Flames put to him, even when the five players in front of him were no help at all.
Hingsight: Little did we know that the ‘Streak’ would go to such extent, but it nearly could have ended at the Saddledome on that Friday night. The Blackhawks did what all good teams do: persevere. Ray Emery gave them the opportunity to win the game, and they did just that, when desperation mode finally came in.
Emery is no longer a Blackhawk, but Chicago fans know that he had his best game ever under the Indian head sweater. He gave it all for the team this night, and it resulted in a game to remember.
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